Saturday, February 07, 2004

Big trouble in Old Europe!

Schroeder to step aside as leader of Germany's Social Democrats
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Friday he would step aside as chairman of his Social Democratic Party, a move he hopes will counter stubbornly low poll ratings and end squabbling over the government’s reform plans.

Schroeder will remain as chancellor, but said he planned to hand over the party chairmanship in March to Franz Muentefering, the leader of the Social Democrats’ group in parliament.

‘‘I will concentrate on my work as chancellor and head of government,’’ Schroeder told a news conference. Muentefering, a close aide seen as being closer to the party’s core voters, will take on responsibility for
Closer to the "core voters" means more leftoid, because it's the leftoids who have their knickers in a twist.
Schroeder last year pushed through a package of reforms meant to revive the stagnant German economy, trimming welfare benefits and speeding up tax cuts — and struggling to overcome resistance from left-wingers in his own party and Germany’s powerful unions.
Never stand between leftoids and the public trough.

Meanwhile, the Cheese Wiz has got problems of his own - Embattled Chirac faces party coup
Supporters of Jacques Chirac will gather in their thousands today in a desperate move to curb a high-level revolt against the President's campaign to save the party chairman and former Prime Minister, Alain Juppé, from being banned from politics for corruption.
Of course it all started when his pal Juppé got convicted last week of organizing illegal party funding and Jackanapes took over the "investigation".
Today's Hoot!

David Brooks in the NY Times on Kerry's Special Friends:
John Kerry has been railing against the special interests, and I don't think that's very nice because it implies that some people's interests are not so special. I like to think that everybody's interests are special in their own way.

What's more, I think Kerry knows this, because if you look over his long career, you see that he loves all our interests, big and small, near or far. For example, a Chinese businesswoman named Liu Chaoying dreamed of having her company listed on a U.S. stock exchange. That's certainly a special dream.

Maybe as a little girl she would come home from school, gather up her little dollies and tell them about her dream of ringing the bell to start the trading day, or of having little Lucite tombstones on her desk to mark her mergers and acquisitions. Maybe some of the other little girls in school told her she'd never have a company on a U.S. exchange, because you know how cruel little kids can be.

But she had an interest, and to her it was the most specialest interest in the world. And she kept at it. And that cute little girl grew up to become a lieutenant colonel in China's People's Liberation Army, which is a very special army, even measured against the armies of other human rights-violating dictatorships. And what's more, she had a $300,000 bank account with funds supplied by the head of Chinese intelligence, which is certainly quite special indeed.

And Liu came to America in search of her dream, for this is the nation of dreams. And she went to see a most special man named Johnny Chung. And in July 1996, according to Newsweek, Chung took Liu to see his special friend John Kerry about her dream, and Kerry recognized its specialness.
I won't spoil the ending. It's truly heart warming when an important guy like John Kerry takes an interest in the dreams of a little person!
John Kerry's Silver Star

I haven't paid much attention to the circumstances surrounding the action that earned John Kerry his Silver Star for gallantry, since the salient fact to my mind is that, after serving with honor, he came home and stabbed his buddies in the back. But this post over at PowerLine piqued my curiosity:
In Mar '68, a lone VC fired an RPG at that Prick's boat, resulting in another miss. One of the crewmen answered this with about 50 rounds from a twin-mount 50 cal MG, wounding the VC, who jumped out of sight. That Prick beached the boat (dumb dumb dumb) where the VC had been, jumped ashore, found the wounded VC, killed him, and returned to the boat with the offending RPG launcher. For this "action," an infantry PFC wouldn't have gotten so much as a pat on the back, but that Prick ended up with a Silver Star!
Aside from some surprise that none of the usual suspects has started whining about the shooting of the wounded man, it does sound a little light on the "marked distinction" required. But it is the 3rd highest award so I wasn't expecting an Audie Murphy story. And like most things in life, the awarding of medals isn't always "fair," and sometimes the folks from prominent Boston families make out better than the rest of us.

But I was sufficiently curious to do a little Googling of other Silver Star recipients (there doesn't seem to be an archive of all of the citations). Here's one awarded posthumously for WWII to Paul Henry Carr, Gunner's Mate Third Class, United States Naval Reserve:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Gun Captain of a 5"/38 Mount on the USS Samuel B. ROBERTS, in action against enemy Japanese forces off Samar Island during the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, October 25, 1944. With the power of the rammer lost and mechanical failures in the ammunition hoist, CARR manned his station steadfastly in the face of continuous close-range fire of enemy guns during an attack by a numerically superior Japanese surface force on the Samuel B. Roberts. By his outstanding technical skill and courageous initiative, CARR was instrumental in causing rapid and heavy fire from the gun to inflict damage upon an enemy heavy cruiser. Although mortally wounded by the premature detonation of a powder charge, fired by hand, CARR tried unassisted to load and ram the only projectile available to that mount after order to abandon ship had been given. His aggressive determination of duty reflected the highest credit upon CARR and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."
And here's some for Vietnam (scroll down). I'll quote the one to Staff Sergeant Billy J. Brickey, United States Marine Corps:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Squad Leader with Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 22 July 1966, Staff Sergeant BRICKEY's squad was serving as point for a company column, moving down a wide streambed, when the point fire team was ambushed at close range from enemy positions along the steep banks of the streambed.

The fire team immediately sustained several casualties and was pinned down by heavy and accurate enemy automatic rifle fire. Maneuvering his remaining teams into positions to neutralize the enemy fire, Staff Sergeant BRICKEY left his place of relative safety to render aid to the wounded Marines. Continually and with complete disregard for his own safety, he crossed the exposed area under withering enemy fire to carry the wounded to safety.

During one of his rescue attempts, Staff Sergeant BRICKEY was wounded by enemy fire and suffered wounds in his right arm and hand. Selflessly, he continued to direct fire on the enemy and to care for the wounded until they had all been moved to a safe position. After routing the enemy, Staff Sergeant BRICKEY directed the remainder of his squad in clearing a zone for the medical evacuation helicopter.

His outstanding leadership and compassion for his fellow Marines inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in saving the lives of several of his companions. By his extraordinary courage, bold initiative, and selfless devotion to duty, Staff Sergeant BRICKEY upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
They do seem to be of a different caliber. But lest you think that Kerry's is exceptional, take a gander at this one awarded to Lyndon Baines Johnson:
"For gallantry in action in the vicinity of Port Moresby and Salamaua, New Guinea on June 9, 1942. While on a mission of obtaining information in the Southwest Pacific area, Lieutenant Commander Johnson, in order to obtain personal knowledge of combat conditions, volunteered as an observer on a hazardous aerial combat mission over hostile positions in New Guinea. As our planes neared the target area they were intercepted by eight hostile fighters. When, at this time, the plane in which Lieutenant Commander Johnson was an observer, developed mechanical trouble and was forced to turn back alone, presenting a favorable target to the enemy fighters, he evidenced marked coolness in spite of the hazards involved. His gallant action enabled him to obtain and return with valuable information."
I believe this translates as "he was an observer in a plane in a combat zone." Hmmm, maybe being well connected does help.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Bring it on!

Michael Grunwald in The New Republic - Is Kerry Really the most electable Democrat? Bring it on?
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry likes to say that, if he's the Democratic nominee and President Bush wants to make the election a referendum on national security, he has just three words to say: "Bring It On!" But what if Kerry becomes the nominee and Bush wants to make the election more than a referendum on national security? What would the Republicans bring on then?

In all likelihood, they would hammer Kerry for his opposition to mandatory minimum sentences for dealers who sell drugs to children and for voting against the death penalty for terrorists. They would mock his efforts to provide cash benefits to drug addicts and alcoholics, and his onetime opposition to a modest work requirement for welfare recipients. They would trash him for supporting more than half a trillion dollars in tax increases-including hikes in gas taxes and Social Security taxes on ordinary Americans-while accepting free housing and other goodies for himself from friendly influence-peddlers. They would even point out that, when Kerry served as lieutenant governor under one Michael S. Dukakis, Massachusetts famously furloughed more than 500 murderers and sex offenders under a program Kerry later defended as tough.

In fact, they already have.

In 1996, Republican Governor William Weld ran an aggressive campaign for Kerry's Massachusetts Senate seat, blasting him as a soft-on-crime, soft-on-welfare, crazed-on-taxes paleoliberal. He accused Kerry of siding with murderers and junkies over victims and taxpayers; he ran one ad with the slogan: "FREE RENT FOR KERRY, HIGHER TAXES FOR US."

It didn't quite work. Weld was the wrong guy, 1996 was the wrong year, and Massachusetts was the wrong state for a chest-thumping, red-meat, ditch-the-wuss conservative message. Kerry relentlessly linked Weld to the Republican bogeymen Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, and Bob Dole, energizing his state's powerful labor unions and yellow-dog Democratic establishment, and he managed to escape with a seven-point victory in a state where Bill Clinton thrashed Dole by 34 points. But George W. Bush is not Bill Weld, 2004 is not 1996, and the United States most assuredly is not Massachusetts.
Follow the money right to the gigolo

AP Links Kerry Nominations to Donations
At least three times in his Senate career, Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry (news - web sites) has recommended individuals for positions at federal home loan banks just before or after receiving political contributions from the nominees, records show.
Lurch says it's just an amazing coincidence, just like Kerry: Blocked Law, Donations Not Linked:
John Kerry said Thursday his intervention on a legislative matter that affected the nation's most expensive highway project had nothing to do with an insurer who benefited from his action and later gave him tens of thousands of dollars in donations.
I guess it's just another example of good things happening to good people.
Thanks, pal!

Kerry disses Guard
John Kerry slipped in a shiv Tuesday night when asked about President Bush's service record. He seemed to lump those who joined the National Guard with those who didn't serve - and that could backfire with Guard vets.

"I would defend the President's choice with respect to going into the Guard," said Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran. "I've never made any judgments about any choice somebody made about avoiding the draft, about going to Canada, going to jail, being a conscientious objector, going into the National Guard. Those are choices people make."
Good job, Lurch!

No word on where providing aid and comfort to the enemy and spreading scurrilous lies about fellow soldiers fits on Kerry's scale. Must be pretty high since he did it.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

But I thought Leftoids loved to pay taxes?

Bush budget soaks S.F. for Hetch Hetchy: Rent would jump from $30,000 to $8 million a year
President Bush's new budget contains an unwelcome bombshell for San Francisco, a proposal to raise the rent the city pays for its Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park from $30,000 a year to a whopping $8 million.

The city's representatives in Congress pledged Tuesday to fight the proposed increase in the rent, which hasn't gone up in more than 70 years.
As expected, Pelosi and Feinstein started the howling.

But removing the dam and letting Hetch Hetchy Valley return to its natural state has been a big Green cause celebre since the days of John Muir. I say tax the evil exploiters and greedy ravagers of nature's beauty!
Preemptive strike alert!

Kerry Clan's Own Watergate
During Kerry's 1972 bid for Congress, his younger brother, Cameron Kerry, was arrested for "breaking into . . . the headquarters of a Kerry opponent," the New York Times reported on Sept. 19 of that year. Kerry's headquarters were in the same building in Lowell, Mass.

Cameron Kerry and another campaign worker pleaded not guilty to charges of "breaking and entering with the intent to commit grand larceny."

John Kerry characterized the break-in as a preemptive strike and told the Times the two men "entered the building after receiving an anonymous telephone threat . . . that the telephone lines at his [own] headquarters were to be sabotaged."
That intelligence seems a tad dubious. No word on whether they found any weapons of phone line destruction.
Home movies alert!

Saddam in 'Terror Tape'
New footage has been released purporting to show Saddam Hussein paying large sums of money to a terrorist group.
The footage given to Sky News was reportedly looted from one of Saddam's palaces.
Unlike "Osama" these days, they could apparently afford a video camera. Whether or not the tape is legit, ole Saddy was famous for paying a reward for suicide bombers in Israel. What more do you need?

Speaking of which, there was another of those pesky work related accidents today - Palestinian Militant Killed in Gaza Blast:
A leader of the Hamas militant group's military wing has been killed in an explosion at a Gaza Strip refugee camp, according to AFP.

Hamas officials identified the militant leader as 36-year-old Abdel Naser Abu Shuka.

Witnesses reportedly spotted Israeli helicopters hovering over the camp shortly after the blast, although the Israeli military has denied operating in the area.

An Israeli military source said the army suspected that Abu Shuka died in an accident while preparing an explosive.
Bummer! No Saddy bucks and no raisins either.

But no worries about a fun shortage in the Middle East, because Allah has a graphic illustration of
"it seemed as if Arab youth would some day be getting their spiritual advice from Snoop Dogg instead of an austere Islamic cleric"
Damn scary! Speaking of Allah, the big fella is getting sloppy over Howie's sad straits. Me too, sniff!
That's our boy!

Howie Carr has more fun with Lurch - The Real Kerry:
ONE of the surest ways to get the phones ringing on any Massachusetts talk-radio show is to ask people to call in and tell their John Kerry stories. The phone lines are soon filled, and most of the stories have a common theme: our junior senator pulling rank on one of his constituents, breaking in line, demanding to pay less (or nothing) or ducking out before the bill arrives.

The tales often have one other common thread. Most end with Sen. Kerry inquiring of the lesser mortal: "Do you know who I am?"

And now he's running for president as a populist.
Lots of good anecdotes - here's a sample:
At the risk of engaging in ethnic stereotyping, Yankees have a reputation for, shall we say, frugality. And Kerry tosses around quarters like they were manhole covers. In 1993, for instance, living on a senator's salary of about $100,000, he managed to give a total of $135 to charity.

Yet that same year, he was somehow able to scrape together $8,600 for a brand-new, imported Italian motorcycle, a Ducati Paso 907 IE. He kept it for years, until he decided to run for president, at which time he traded it in for a Harley-Davidson like the one he rode onto "The Tonight Show" set a couple of months ago as Jay Leno applauded his fellow Bay Stater.

Of course, in 1993 he was between his first and second heiresses - a time he now calls "the wandering years," although an equally apt description might be "the freeloading years."

For some of the time, he was, for all practical purposes, homeless. His friends allowed him into a real-estate deal in which he flipped a condo for quick resale, netting a $21,000 profit on a cash investment of exactly nothing. For months he rode around in a new car supplied by a shady local Buick dealer. When the dealer's ties to a congressman who was later indicted for racketeering were exposed, Kerry quickly explained that the non-payment was a mere oversight, and wrote out a check.

In the Senate, his record of his constituent services has been lackluster, and most of his colleagues, despite their public support, are hard-pressed to list an accomplishment. Just last fall, a Boston TV reporter ambushed three congressmen with the question, name something John Kerry has accomplished in Congress. After a few nervous giggles, two could think of nothing, and a third mentioned a baseball field, and then misidentified Kerry as "Sen. Kennedy."
Some people think Kerry is pond scum who never missed an opportunity to support this country's enemies. While that's certainly true, I tend to think he's a self-aggrandizing parasite who would do anything to get and keep his place at the public trough.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Everyone's doing it!

Europe aiming to put astronauts on Mars
The European Space Agency has embarked on an ambitious space plan that includes sending astronauts to Mars in 2033.

The ultimate goal of sending people to Mars is similar to the initiative outlined by US President George W Bush in January, but ESA's programme, called Aurora, is far more detailed.
The Chinese have yet to be heard from.
Obligatory Election Post

I was going to skip commenting on yesterday's primaries because "everybody's doing it", but here are a few laughs.

Rev. spins after flop
COLUMBIA, S.C. - As the Rev. Al Sharpton delivered his "victory speech" at the Sheraton Hotel here, he shared the ballroom with members of the South Carolina Funeral Directors Association.

It was a good fit. Undertakers are used to insincere speeches.

"Nobody would have predicted that I would finish ahead of [Howard] Dean, [Wesley] Clark, [Joseph] Lieberman and [Dennis] Kucinich," Sharpton said after tallying 9.6% of the state's vote. "I'm a first-tier candidate."
John Ellis - He's Alive
Watching Chris Matthews of MSNBC slather all over Senator John Edwards tonight was embarrassing on any number of levels, but it was a useful reminder to Ellisblog that one must never underestimate the power of the national news media when it seeks a desired outcome.

"Is it just a matter of having people see how good you are, Senator Edwards" asked Mr. Matthews of his somewhat startled guest. "Yes, I think that's right" said Sen. Edwards by way of reply. You really can't make this stuff up.
Bwahaha! Chris Matthews is a legend in his own mind.
And so it was proclaimed this evening that we now have a two-man race between Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards for the Democratic presidential nomination. It is hardly clear that this is so. The facts would seem to argue otherwise. But never mind about that, dittoheads. The Show must go on and the media will produce it.
Ain't we got fun!

Leftoid tears in The Problem With Kerry: He’s so -- zzzzzzzzzzz ... plus a rather unflattering snap of the gigolo.

And Howie Carr in the ($ subscription required) Boston Herald - It's Deja Duke all over again, but Long Jawn ain't tanking yet
You know, since 1988, M. Stanley Dukakis has become a standing joke, George McGovern in a tank. He's relegated to the Fritz Mondale-Jimmy Carter super-loser category. But remember, the Duke was 17 points ahead of Bush I after the Democratic convention.

If the Duke had been of sound mind, and Al Gore hadn't invented Willie Horton in the New York primary, the Duke might well have become the 41st president.

It was scary there for a while, but all's well that ends well, and 1988 ended magnificently. Only now, 16 years later, it's deja vu, although this time it's the Duke's lieutenant governor who's rolling toward . . . Boston.

Which is, of course, the Republicans' secret weapon. The Democratic convention is going to take place right here, and if yesterday's urine-drenched chug-a-lug party on City Hall Plaza is any indication, Mumbles and his gang of knuckleheads are far from ready for prime time.

Yesterday was a dry run convention, and it quickly became a wet run. And think of how much tougher July's rioters will be than yesterday's drunk teenagers. If Seattle couldn't handle the anarchists and wackos who descended on the WTO conference a couple of years back, then how possibly can Mumbles?

How odd it is that George Bush's best friend in the coming campaign may be Mumbles Menino, the mayor who said yesterday he couldn't put porta-potties on City Hall Plaza because they might be used ``as weapons.''

Who knew the Incredible Hulk was lumbering downtown to start a riot?
Sounds like I missed a party!
What does Karl Rove propose to throw at Kerry? The fact that his car didn't have a Massachusetts inspection sticker for seven years? That when it comes to charity, he tosses around quarters like manhole covers? That he owns a 42-foot Hinckley powerboat named the Scaramouche? That until he started running for president Kerry preferred an imported Italian motorcycle to his present Harley?

The old Arthur Finkelstein-type ``wedge'' issues just don't work anymore, which brings us back to all those ``fans'' on City Hall Plaza yesterday. Many of the guys were relieving themselves on the Plaza when they weren't videotaping the girls flashing their breasts, a la Janet Jackson.

They've spent way more time in mosh pits than precincts, and that's your 2004 electorate, folks. You can't call Kerry a card-carrying member of the ACLU because 1) he's too cheap to pay the annual dues, and 2) most of these voters have no clue what the ACLU is.
Hmm, we'll think of something.
We've always had taxes on sin...

So Get Ready For the Twinkie Tax:
Apparently unsatiated by their huge claims on booze and cigarettes, the tax police are planning a major snack attack. Potato chips, cookies, sodas, candy--a $30 billion-a-year business--are being targeted by more than a dozen revenue-starved states under the misguided impression that by charging a few extra cents per can or bag they can trim their budget deficits and encourage the rest of us to slim down. Fat chance.
This looks like a growth industry. Pick some product whose consumption is "socially irresponsible" and slap a tax on it. The taxpayers don't like taxes, but they don't like sin either. Twinkies are tough (figuratively) since they are classified as food products which are often exempt from state sales taxes, but a little legislative legerdemain ought to fix that. I'm still waiting for the tax on beans to fight global warming. You think I'm joking? How easily you forget!
And speaking of deadbeats

Cuba's debt to Venezuela soars as oil keeps flowing
CARACAS - With little fanfare, Venezuela's left-leaning President Hugo Chávez has become Cuba's biggest financial supporter since the Soviet Union pulled the plug on its subsidies more than a decade ago.

Over the past three years, Cuba has run up a massive debt of $752 million for oil shipped by Venezuela's state oil company, according to people close to the company and internal documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Though Venezuelan officials deny that Cuba is falling behind, people familiar with the debt say it is piling up and that the government has made little effort to collect.
That's OK, Fidel is paying it off in thugs. But here's an upbeat note about Cuba:
Its biggest source of dollars is the Cubans who live abroad, most of them in the United States. In 2002, Cubans abroad sent an estimated $1.1 billion to Cuba in remittances, according to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank.
We ought to count up how many countries are being supported by "remittances" from the USA.
They could always call Ditech

White House seeks to loan U.N. funds for renovations
The Bush administration's new budget includes a $1.2 billion, 30-year loan to renovate the aging United Nations headquarters and build a new annex, although U.N. officials expressed disappointment that Washington will charge interest on the loan.
I'd offer to demolish the old building for free and then have "left my wallet at home" when it came to building the new place, although the interest is a nice touch.
The loan to fund the U.N. Capital Master Plan still must win approval by Congress and the U.N. General Assembly. The world body must agree to accept the 5.54 percent interest rate. Interest and principal is to be paid off by all member states.
If approved, Washington will pay out $400 million a year for three years, and the organization will have 30 years to pay it back, plus interest. The total bill, with interest, will be close to $2.5 billion.
5.54%! Ditech currently only wants 5.25% on a 30 year loan, but then the UN is a poor credit risk - no income and a champagne lifestyle. It would have been cooler though to send them to the loan sharks - "OK, Kofi, you have until Friday to come up with what you owe or we break your leg!"

Of course, to a large extent we are paying ourselves:
As part of its assessed contribution to the U.N. budget, the United States will supply 22 percent of that repayment figure - $265 million on the principal alone.
Instead of all this flummery, I have a simpler solution - follow the example of the Utah state House of Representatives - Utah House Wants United States Out of UN. But they forgot the "UN out of the US" part.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

There's always good news somewhere!

How about the minor league hockey player who was suspended after referring to an opponent as a "Euro"? Tsk, everyone knows the correct term is "Euroweenie."

Then there's the German "artiste" whose medium of choice is human cadavers. The only problem is that some of them seem to be executed Chinese prisoners with bullets in their heads. Probably understandable since while some people leave their bodies to science, I expect very few leave them to "art." Oh yeah, catch the photo of the artiste in the article.

I haven't been following the Martha Stewart trial but Andrea Peyser says You Know It's a Circus When Rosie the Clown Shows Up. Aside from the photo of Rosie with a death grip on a bag of M&M's, the best part is:
"Her daughter [Alexis] made lemon cake, which was delicious!" Rosie enthused. "They had napkins that matched the forks!"
Who knew that Rosie had such refined taste?

And here's a shocker - Expert Says Glass Is Major Threat to Birds!
Carr Everbach, a Swarthmore College engineer heading a "green team" working on a new science center at the school, likens plate glass to other scientific advancements later found to harm the environment, such as ozone-depleting CFCs and leaded gasoline.

"Anytime someone tells you there's something really big that you haven't heard of, you think they're crazy," he said. [Say what?]

The new science center will have glass etched with dots and other patterns, which the green team hopes birds will see and avoid. The building also will have clear glass and "thump sensors" to see if - and where - birds strike the structure.
Why do I envision the "thump sensors" connected up to a giant display of the total and rowdy undergrads on a Saturday night trying to tap on the windows to make the numbers go up?

Monday, February 02, 2004


Via the Instapundit - The BBC Lied, Dr. Kelly Died!
Fun with Lurch!

Mickey Kaus asks Why the Long Face? and catalogs some of Sen. Kerry's prevarications with respect to campaign cash. Here's a riddle:
How is John Kerry's office like a subway? A: You have to put in coins to open gates!
And don't forget to include some for handling, because he loves to handle it!
I don't pay much attention to football anymore

But I thought they banned the use of tear-away jerseys! Can you say cheesy, kids?

Sunday, February 01, 2004

And then there's John Edwards

Around here we have a couple of sayings for folks like John Edwards. My favorite is "He's full of more crap than a Christmas goose." Looks like the Yankees are catching on to his high crap quotient:

James Pinkerton at Newsday - Edwards Brings His Cornpone to the North
Part of the reason for Southern effectiveness, I think, is condescension: Northerners are inordinately impressed when a Southerner can finish a sentence without tobacco spittle running down his chin. Another reason is gratitude: Northerners, expecting to hear an accent such as that of Renée Zellweger in "Cold Mountain," are unduly happy when they can understand what a Southerner is saying.

Amid all this cross-cultural cluelessness, a Southerner who can play the "Dixie card" gets extra credit for being "brave" enough to talk about race. Here, at a Unitarian Church in this chilly seacoast town, Edwards told a lily-white audience, "They say I shouldn't talk about race." The North Carolina senator never bothered to identify "they," leaving his listeners to imagine that some cynical political boss somewhere was threatening him with doom if he mentioned civil rights.

Having set up this strawiest of straw men, Edwards then knocked it over: "We should not only talk about race," he thundered, "we have a moral responsibility to talk about race." The crowd cheered; nobody seemed to notice that Edwards never did, in fact, say anything about race - other than that he would talk about it.
A lot more goodness by following the link.

And here's an Edwards item I had completely missed - Edwards gets a big-boy cut:
Just two weeks before the Jan. 18 caucuses, Iowa voters had pretty much decided John Edwards wasn't their guy for president.
Then Edwards surged and the pundits scrambled to find an explanation: his positive campaign, his centrist policies, his working-class roots. All plausible reasons. But they have missed something crucial.

He changed his hair.

Seriously. Look at pictures of him before the New Year and then leading up to the Iowa vote. That boyish swoop of chestnut over his forehead, sometimes nearly touching his eyebrows or settling on his collar, is gone, replaced by a slight wave that leaves his forehead exposed. It's a subtle change, but an important one. With a few snips of a stylist's clippers, Edwards took a step toward neutralizing one of his greatest weaknesses.

"He went from a boy to a grown man in one sweep," observed Roi Parker, who owns R.O.I. Salon in Raleigh, where the new coif is a favorite topic of conversation. "He went from fun, free, fashion-forward hair to in-the-office, behind-the-desk, running-for-something hair."
Woohoo! Follow the link for some snaps.
And speaking of late hits, how about this?

Will George Soros Panic the Market?
The idea was floated first by former Treasury secretary Robert Rubin, now the chairman of Citigroup. Unless Congress scales back the Bush tax cuts, he argues in a new study, U.S. government budget deficits could lead to a crisis of confidence in the dollar and the stock market and potentially staggering losses for investors.

To conservative economist Bruce Bartlett, Rubin was "laying the groundwork for a political assault on President George W. Bush over his budget policies, hope[ing] to give the Democratic presidential candidate an issue to run on that could propel him into the White House."

But Wall Street sources say Rubin may have had other designs as well. A consummate insider who talked the market up when he was working for Bill Clinton, Rubin today could be trying to talk the market down. "This market is thin enough that if you made a big move all of a sudden you could move it," Bartlett tells Insight. "At some point, something could happen on its own, and then someone like George Soros could turn a minor blip into something else."
"Soros believes that if he can force the market down, he will have an effect in the real world," Luskin says. "If it happens on Oct. 31, people might go into the voting booth with fear in their hearts."
Those SPECTRE guys are always thinking, I guess!

By the way, the Luskin mentioned in the quote above is investment adviser and author Donald Luskin from which is on my blogroll. He doesn't think it's time to start cleaning the flintlocks, but says "investors should watch Soros carefully but calmly." I say, "Where's James Bond when you need him?"
Bye bye Weasley, bye bye!

He may even "win" some primaries come Tuesday, but you can stick a fork in him, he's done. Here's Matthews: Clintons Ready to Dump Clark
After persuading Gen. Wesley Clark to enter the presidential sweepstakes last September and staffing his campaign with their closest advisors, Bill and Hillary Clinton are reportedly preparing to dump the former NATO Commander.

"[The Clintons] are stepping away from [him] so fast, like rats from a ship," NBC's Chris Matthews said Sunday.

"The Clintons deny any connection to the Clark campaign," he added, before predicting, "[Bill Clinton] will be the only man in history to fire Wesley Clark twice."
Bwahaha! Weasley ran for President and all he got was a lousy argyle sweater. Besides a reputation as a slavering moonbat.

But his job is done and Her Heinous and Bubba are riding high - Clinton & Clinton: To maintain their hold on the party, Howard Dean had to be destroyed.
When Mr. Dean hissed at the Clinton's majordomo, Mr. McAuliffe, they knew they had to take action.

Looking back on the assault on Mr. Dean before the Iowa caucuses, one is reminded of the old joke that politics really is a blood sport, and by caucus day the blood was everywhere and so were the Clintons' fingerprints. I cannot recall such a concerted assault on a front-runner in any other primary season. Dick Morris was, perhaps, the first to claim that Mr. McAuliffe's agents spread negative research against Mr. Dean. Now we have more evidence. Sources in the Kerry camp and the Edwards camp told my colleague "The Prowler" at that much of the opposition research that smeared Mr. Dean in Iowa came from the Clark campaign. "It wasn't just Clark, though," a Kerry staffer reported, "We know of at least two different stories that came from people currently on staff with the DNC, who fed the material to reporters." Says an Edwards staffer, "These are folks who worked for Clinton back in '92 and '96 and in the administration."

Of course, the damaging Dean letter to President Clinton in the mid-1990s calling for unilateral action in Kosovo, which USA Today published just before the Iowa caucuses, could only have come from the Clintons. There is another report that Jimmy Carter's anticipated endorsement of Mr. Dean faded into a photo-op after Mr. Clinton called Mr. Carter. Obviously the Clintons have been very busy this campaign season. This explains to some degree Mr. Gore's endorsement of Mr. Dean and possibly Bill Bradley's too.

There are Democrats who want to loosen the Clintons' grip on their party. That grip has always been good for the Clintons but bad for the party. Will front-runner Mr. Kerry be the next victim of the Clintons' political research teams? Possibly not--he is the Washington insider that Mr. Dean is not. And it is not clear that he will be sailing into the summer convention with a great deal of brag and bounce. He may be limping in after still more primary battles. Then Hillary will make her grand entrance. With Mr. McAuliffe smiling from the podium her power will be vast. Possibly she will allow herself to be nominated to the No. 2 spot to assist her party in its moment of peril. Either way, Hillary and her husband will remain the Democratic powerbrokers for 2008. Or possibly just the powers.
Yum, Clintons! That's what they do, that's all they do.